Organic Transparency/Respect? We Need Your Intelligence Help.

June 30th, 2014

We need your help (confidentially) to identify all current candidates for appointment to the National Organic Standards Board.

CI_USDAtransparencyCongress set up specific stakeholder representation on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to assure that corporations and their lobbyists do not dominate organic governance. However, the seats the law designates for independent farmers, scientists, retailers, etc. have frequently been given instead to corporate executives and consultants. (This abuse has occurred during both the Bush and Obama administrations.)

In the interest of transparency, during one past nomination cycle the USDA Secretary made the names of all nominees public. This was an excellent move because it gave organic stakeholders the opportunity to comment, favorably or negatively, on prospective representatives of the organic community. If the USDA Secretary was truly interested in appointing the best and brightest to serve on the NOSB, you would think he or she would welcome input from the most knowledgeable individuals in our industry.

We need your help (confidentially) to identify all current candidates for appointment to the National Organic Standards Board.

Cornucopia has once again asked Secretary Vilsack to make this process public. Since he has not replied to our letter, sent in early June, we have also filed a request, under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting the identities and background of all nominees.

As an example, while there are many qualified candidates it was a stick in the eye to many working organic farmers, who had placed their names in nomination, when two full-time corporate employees (of Driscoll’s and Organic Valley) were appointed to the NOSB by Secretary Vilsack to serve in a seat that Congress designated for someone who “owns or operates an organic farm.”

To try to ensure that this doesn’t happen again we are going to publish the names of all nominees we can identify. This is where we need your help! We already have a number of names on our list.

Our theory is that if the organic community knows of qualified candidates whose names have been placed in nomination, it will be politically difficult for Secretary Vilsack to pass over truly exemplary candidates and instead appoint a corporate-friendly, less qualified nominee.

Please feel free to call or email us with any information that you might have. We will hold the source in strict confidence and will confirm the candidacy with the individual directly.

If you have any questions or suggestions, as we move forward, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely yours,

Fantle_sig

Will Fantle
Codirector
The Cornucopia Institute

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